taxonomy in public media

Kyle Williams kylew1 at JUNO.COM
Wed Jan 15 22:56:20 CST 1997

On Wed, 15 Jan 1997 08:48:11 -0700 "JOSEPH E. LAFERRIERE"
<josephl at AZTEC.ASU.EDU> writes:
>My sister (a highly intelligent but appalling uneducated woman)
>has an answer to the Star Trek habit of identifying Spock and
>other characters as half-human, half-alien. I pointed out to
>her that, statistically speaking, the odds were not at all in
>favor of aliens and humans being genetically compatible. She
>smiled and replied, "But, now, we don't have any statistics
>on space aliens, now do we?" I was totally lost for an answer.
>Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere, 4717 E First St., Tucson AZ 85711 USA
>JosephL at

As mentioned in an earlier post the "official" explanation for the
morphological similarities between the alien races (as well as their
ability to interbreed) is that an ancient race populated numerous planets
with their DNA.  By using this explanation the writers have made the
humanoid races of the galaxy a monophyletic group which would allow for
the (small) possibility of hybrid offspring to be created.  Of course its
a cheesy excuse but at least its slightly better than having us believe
that this is a case of extreme evolutionary convergence which occurred
independently on hundreds of worlds.

Also on the Star Trek theme, there was an episode where Dr. Crusher and
Captain Picard were trapped in a cave on an alien world.  Picard was
injured and Dr. Crusher was able to identify the  roots of a certain
species of plant (she said the name but I forget what it was) that her
grandmother used on similar injuries, and used it to help Picard.  Of
course that begs the question "How is the same species of plant growing
on different planets?".  By this time however I tell myself  that its
just a TV show and then go back to suspending my disbelief.   :)

Oh well, back to botanizing on our own planet.

Kyle Williams

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